There are plenty of places on my bucket list but I have to admit, before I went there, Boston, Massachusetts, was not one of them. But it should’ve been. Don’t get me wrong, I always thought it would be interesting, what with the Boston baseball and the history of the Boston tea party but being so close to New York City means people often choose to go there instead and Boston is, at times, overlooked. Of course, everyone loves New York but it’s always fun to explore somewhere new especially before the tourist masses take over. Following a visit to Boston last summer, these are just some of the many reasons why I strongly suggest putting this capital on your bucket list.
It was my friend who suggested Boston as a place to start on our travels along the East Coast of America. As everybody knows, airfares to some places in America can be extortionate but Norweigan Airlines have some very cheap flights from Belfast to Providence Airport (just an hour away from Boston) so we decided ‘why not’. Upon our initial research into the city, we were met with so much more than we could ever imagine.
Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in the United States and America’s “most beloved ballpark”. Almost every review we read ahead of our visit, emphasised the importance of not missing a baseball game here. We’d heard mixed reviews from various non-American friends about American baseball games but despite neither my friend nor I being huge sports fans, we decided to find tickets and got them for only $25 – thank you StubHub. Walking into the stands with my overpriced hotdog in hand made me feel like I was walking into a movie. Whilst I may not have known what exactly was going on during half the game, from the loud music to the buzzing atmosphere, it was a truly unforgettable night and I, like all the other reviews on Boston, highly recommend going to a baseball game in Fenway Park.
If there’s one thing Boston offers plenty of, it’s history. Being the birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston is a central city in American history, often known as the “Cradle of Modern America.” The Freedom Trail in Boston is a popular attraction for tourists to understand and learn about the history of Boston – a 2.5-mile-long path that passes through 16 locations across the city significant to the history of America including Boston Common, the famed Bunker Hill Monument and the Boston Tea Party of 1773. If you are anything like me on holiday sometimes sight-seeing in a big city like Boston can be somewhat overwhelming so I particularly loved it because it was so easy to follow. Whether you choose to do the Freedom Trail with a guide or on your own, I highly recommend it.
Public Gardens and outdoor venues
One thing I loved about Boston was how walkable everything was – in fact we only ended up getting the subway on two occasions. This not only helps your holiday budget but makes things a little more stress-free. Staying in the city centre of Boston, I found that most places seemed to be in walking distance to each other and not only that, a lot of things to do were free and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love free things? The Boston Public Garden, America’s first public botanical garden and the Boston Common, the oldest public park in America are located in very close proximity. Both are lovely to escape the city whether you take a stroll, sit on a park bench and watch the world go by or find a quiet spot on the grass to eat your lunch. The Public Library is also a beautiful building to visit that I sort of stumbled upon when exploring the city and again it’s free.
Sometimes sight-seeing can be a little tiresome and you feel like your brain needs a break from all those historical facts you’ll forget in a week. Also if you like shopping it’s nice to check out the shops in every new city. Why not combine history and shopping by visiting Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market which is full of high street brands, unique shops and lots of food stands and restaurants. Even if you aren’t planning to buy anything I strongly recommend taking a stroll through the beautiful Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Beacon Hill is also a lovely place to take a stroll, not far from the Boston Common. Perhaps my favourite area in Boston and definitely one of the most picturesque, the Victorian style red-brick neighbourhood is located near plenty of small boutique shops which are lovely to visit and you can find lovely souvenirs to bring home as opposed to the usual cheap ‘I <3 Boston’ keyrings you would usually buy.
Harvard Law School
Whether you’ve heard about it through watching Legally Blonde or referencing your university books, Harvard is one of Boston’s most well-known landmarks. Known for being part of the Ivy League Schools and founded in 1636, Harvard is considered to be one of the best universities in the world. Located just outside Boston, in Cambridge, I was not going to miss the chance to visit Harvard Law School. Whilst you can opt to take guided tours, we chose to just take a stroll around the stunning campus grounds and of course I got that Instagram at the iron gates pretending it was my first day at Harvard.
Although not quite as pricey as New York, Boston can still be expensive but there are various ways you can find somewhere affordable. I stayed in Chinatown and while it’s perhaps not the most picturesque area it was super close to the city centre.
Within this article, I’ve only touched upon some of the many amazing places to visit; there are many, many more including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the New England Aquarium. Boston is also a stone’s throw away from the famous Cape Cod if you have time and I will definitely be there when I get back to the wonderful Boston.
Rather than contemplating if you’d like to visit Boston I hope after reading this you are planning when you’d like to visit Boston!